He may have helped to make certain the Sam Maguire would be under no Kerry Christmas tree this year, but Dublin GAA star Bernard Brogan paved the way for Santa Claus in the great footballing town of Listowel last night by switching on the Christmas lights.
Controversy dogged the decision by Listowel Town Traders to invite the Dublin forward instead of a Kerry player.
However, last night the fireworks were all in the sky — and Bernard Brogan was welcomed as “one of our own”, in the words of traders woman Jennifer Stack.
And Mr Brogan was doing it all for free, she revealed, in the town in which he is half a native anyway.
The event was a coup — normally a handful of people turn out, but last night saw a huge crowd, including hundreds of children crowded into the square of the heritage town.
Such was the welcome for the Dublin star several children dressed in the Dubs colours for the event. Two-year-old Jack Leahy from Cliveragh donned a blue coat for the occasion.
Accompanied by mother Marie and father, the 1970s Dublin star Bernard Sr, Bernard Jr said: “Sure I’m half Kerry anyway, My Ma lets everyone in Dublin know that.”
His mother, Marie Keane-Stack from William St, Listowel, met her husband in 1976 at the carnival in the nearby village of Finuge.
“I introduced them,” said Jimmy Deenihan, the arts and heritage minister.
Mr Deenihan was a former Kerry back and holder of several All-Ireland medals from the 1970s when traditional rivals, Dublin, would be hosted by Kerry players for the annual Listowel races.
MC Billy Keane reminded Bernard Brogan Jr as he climbed on stage last night: “Half the Dublin team, their mothers are from Kerry… you have only two All-Ireland medals and maybe next year if they don’t pick you you’ll come back and play for Kerry.”
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